Brazilian Butt Lift Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

Reviewed for medical accuracy Dr. Constantino Mendieta in March 2016

The Brazilian butt lift — an invasive treatment where a surgeon takes fat from other areas of the body and injects it into the butt — has become an increasingly popular procedure, growing into the most-researched treatment on RealSelf.

If you’re considering a BBL to enhance your backside, you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve drawn on the expertise of RealSelf doctors to bring you answers to the most frequently asked questions.

In This Overview:

What Is a Brazilian Butt Lift?
Is It Right for Me?
How Much Does It Cost?
How Long Do the Results Last?
How Do I Choose a Surgeon?
How Much Fat Is Needed for a BBL?
What Happens During the Procedure?
What’s the Recovery Time?
What Are the Possible Side Effects?
Can a Brazilian Butt Lift Be Reversed?
What Happens If I Gain Weight or Become Pregnant After a BBL?
What Else Do I Need to Know?

What Is a Brazilian Butt Lift?

A Brazilian butt lift is a butt augmentation procedure that uses liposuction to harvest fat from one or more areas of the body and inject it into the backside. It can address a range of concerns, including flat or sagging buttocks, asymmetry, or other disproportions, sometimes due to massive weight loss. In contrast to butt implant surgery, which uses artificial implants to increase size and shape, many RealSelf users prefer the Brazilian butt lift because of its natural approach. Back to top

Is a Brazilian Butt Lift Right for Me?

First and foremost, you have to be in good medical health to be considered for any kind of cosmetic surgery. If you have any heart condition, lung condition, or neurological disorder, you may not be a good candidate for a BBL.

Ideal candidates are close to their ideal weight, with still enough fat that can be liposuctioned, such as the abdomen, love handles, back, and thighs. The skin in these areas also needs to have good elasticity, to avoid sagging after liposuction. Those who don’t have enough fat but are otherwise good candidates may be instructed to gain 10 to 20 pounds prior to surgery. “If I think the patient needs to add more fat, I recommend a new diet,” explains Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Constantino Mendieta. “[I then] project a timetable for when they could expect to have their surgery.” (Read more on fat gain here.) Back to top

How Much Does a Brazilian Butt Lift Cost?

While the average cost of a Brazilian butt lift is listed at around $6,500 on RealSelf, the price can vary widely. Many factors can affect cost, including the number of areas being treated with liposuction, the experience of the surgeon, the geographic area where the procedure is performed, and any additional costs associated with surgical, OR, anesthesia, or post-op appointment fees.

As with any cosmetic procedure, price should not be the primary factor in choosing your doctor. Back to top

How Long Do Brazilian Butt Lift Results Last?

Dr. Mendieta says to expect roughly 60% of the injected fat to the say in the area. The rest will be reabsorbed by the body and eliminated naturally. “The great thing about the Brazilian butt lift surgery is that the fact cells that survive the transfer will live in their new location forever,” Mendieta adds.

It’s important to remember, however, that these fat cells will still behave like the rest of the fat in your body, susceptible to fluctuations in weight. To have the highest chance of long-lasting results, be prepared to maintain weight after your procedure rather than lose it.

To get an idea of the kinds of results you can expect, here are three of the most viewed before and after photos on RealSelf.
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How Do I Choose a Surgeon for a Brazilian Butt Lift?

As with any elective procedure, the most important factor in choosing a doctor is experience. While any plastic surgeon can legally offer Brazilian butt lifts, you want to search for a doctor who performs the procedure frequently and has proven safe results. It’s also recommended to have multiple consultations before selecting a surgeon.

Orlando plastic surgeon Dr. Armando Soto offer this checklist to help you determine if a doctor is right for you.

Check Qualifications

“Be sure he or she is a plastic surgeon,” says Dr. Franco. “There are a lot of doctors who are cosmetic surgeons or board-certified in fields other than plastic surgery. They do not have the same training as a plastic surgeon. Check the American Board of Plastic Surgery website [to verify certification].”

Ask Where the Surgery Will Be Performed

“Make sure the surgery center or facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities [AAAASF] or another nationally recognized body,” says Dr. Soto.

Ask About the Others Involved in Your Care

“The nurses, anesthesia providers, and other ancillary personnel can have a large impact on your experience,” Dr. Soto explains. “Make sure they are qualified and pleasant people.”

Look at Before and After Photos

“Ask to see photos of your surgeon’s work, and maybe even speak to a few former patients,” Dr. Soto adds. “Ask how many of these procedures they have done and how frequently they do them. This is a great way to get a better understanding of what you might experience from start to finish.” Also consider looking at before and after photos posted online by other patients, to be certain you’re seeing real results.

If you’re looking for a licensed and qualified plastic surgeon to perform your Brazilian butt lift, use the RealSelf
Doctor Finder. Back to top

How Much Fat Is Needed for a Brazilian Butt Lift?

The amount of fat harvested and injected into the buttocks is measured in cubic centimeters (ccs). “The exact amount of ccs needed depends on you,” explains Dr. Mendieta. “The BBL is a very personal and beautiful augmentation when it is performed specifically to your dimensions.”

If a patient does not have enough fat to get the results they want, they may need to gain 10 to 20 pounds prior to surgery. Back to top

What Happens During a Brazilian Butt Lift Procedure?

Brazilian butt lift techniques can vary among surgeons, but the process always happens in three stages: harvesting, processing, and reinjection.

First, fat gets extracted by liposuction from the pre-determined areas. Common locations include the back (directly above the butt), stomach, and thighs. The extracted fat is then processed through centrifugation. Once purified, only the best donor fat cells will be reinjected into the butt. This may be done through hundreds of tiny microinjections at various depths.

Read more about liposuction in our guide. Back to top

What’s the Recovery Time for a Brazilian Butt Lift?

While recovery time will vary from patient to patient, RealSelf doctors recommend you avoid sitting directly on your butt for a minimum of two weeks. After that, you may want to sit on a boppy pillow, which allows you put pressure on the thighs instead of the butt. You will also be asked to wear a compression garment for up to six weeks to decrease bruising and swelling, while helping loose skin retract.

“I generally tell my patients that they may return to work in 10-14 days after a Brazilian butt lift,” says Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Moises Salama. “General swelling make take six to eight weeks to improve, but the inflammation from the liposuction can last several months.”

It’s generally recommended that rigorous exercise be avoided for about a month. However, your doctor may suggest some light-impact movement like stretching and walking. Post-op requirements vary from person to person. It’s important to follow your doctor’s specific instructions in order to achieve the best results.
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What Are the Possible Side Effects and Complications?

If performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, the Brazilian butt lift procedure has a very high success rate. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, it’s not completely risk-free. Common side effects include bruising, swelling, pain, irregular contour, asymmetry, infection, and loss of fat due to not following post-op instructions.

“I believe the Brazilian butt lift procedure is very safe,” says Dr. Jimerson. “The complication rates are relatively low, however major risks include pulmonary or fat embolism (less than 1% of patients) and anemia. If you’re already anemic, of if you’re starting your menstrual cycle, it may be easy for the procedure to cause anemia. Back to top

Can a Brazilian Butt Lift Be Reversed?

While the Brazilian butt lift is typically considered a permanent procedure, revisions can be made. “Some of the transferred fat can be easily removed using liposuction,” explains San Francisco plastic surgeon Dr. Mats Hagstrom. Fat can also be added to correct asymmetries or increase results. As with the first round of the procedure, the ability to do so is dependent on how much fat you have to harvest. Back to top

What Happens If I Gain Weight or Become Pregnant After a BBL?

Weight Gain: Once fat has been moved from another area of your body to your buttocks, these fat cells can grow or shrink just like any other fat on your body, so your butt could get larger if you gain weight. You might gain weight in the areas that were treated with liposuction, and you may even gain weight in places you didn’t before. It’s essential to maintain your ideal weight following the procedure.

Pregnancy: If you’re planning on getting pregnant in the near future, Dr. Andrew Jimerson advises waiting until after giving birth. But if you’re planning on having kids several years down the road, he “doesn’t see why you can’t have a BBL now. Neither liposuction nor fat transfer will affect your fertility, and those surgeries do not pose a risk to future pregnancies.”

People handle pregnancy differently, and there’s no way to know how or where you’ll gain weight while pregnant. There’s also no way to know how you’re going to look after you give birth. Those who have gotten pregnant after a BBL may desire a touch-up or another procedure, such as a mommy makeover. Back to top

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Why Would I Get a BBL Instead of Butt Implants?

The primary deciding factor is how much fat you have to work with. Most RealSelf doctors prefer BBLs over implants because fat can be shaped more precisely, put specifically in the areas that need it, with a lower complication rate than implants. Implants are typically only considered for patients who don’t have enough fat and have difficulty gaining weight.

Will I Have a Scar?

The Brazilian butt lift involves harvesting fat with liposuction using small tubes called cannulas. These cannulas are inserted through incisions less than a centimeter wide. Just like scarring from any other type of injury, these incisions will go through a maturation process, likely over the course of a year. “For the first few months, the scars will be red and possibly raised and/or firm,” says Newport Beach plastic surgeon Dr. Larry Nichter. “As the scar matures, it becomes soft, pale, flat, and much less noticeable. Some people are prone to hypertrophic scars or keloids, which are abnormal scars that become prominent. If you or a blood relative have a tendency for these types of scars, please inform your doctor.”

Your plastic surgeon may suggest a scar lightening cream, silicone scar sheets, laser treatments, or injections to further minimize the appearance. Use sunscreen and avoid any prolonged exposure to the sun for at least two months, as UV rays can darken the appearance of scars.

Are Massages Necessary After a Brazilian Butt Lift?

Most RealSelf doctors recommend lymphatic drainage massages following a Brazilian butt lift, as they can significantly help decrease bruising and swelling.

Dr. Constantino Mendieta typically recommends starting these a few weeks after your procedure, “but there are many mitigating factors, [including] the status of your recovery, the blood flow post-BBL, and other personal factors that make you and your BBL unique.”

What’s most important is choosing a qualified plastic surgeon who specializes in Brazilian butt lifts, and closely following his or her post-procedure instructions.

Have a question we didn't answer in this guide? Post it in the comments below or ask an expert plastic surgeon.

More to Explore:

See more before and after photos

Read reviews from real patients

Find plastic surgeons offering this treatment in your area

Dr. MendietaThis guide has been medically reviewed for accuracy by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Constantino Mendieta. Dr. Mendieta completed his undergrad and medical school education at Creighton University. From there, he completed residencies at Maricopa County Hospital in Arizona and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, as well as a fellowship at the Royal College of Surgery in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Consumer Research Council in America has named Dr. Mendieta one of the country’s Top Surgeons for five years in a row. Learn more on his RealSelf profile.

Disclaimer:This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare professional. Your reliance on any information or content provided in the guide is solely at your own risk. You should always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare professional for any questions you have about your own medical condition. RealSelf does not endorse or recommend any specific content, procedure, product, opinion, healthcare professional or any other material or information in this guide or anywhere on this website.

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